The number of male teachers has hit a 40-year low, with men accounting for just 25 percent of educators. In preschools the numbers are even more skewed, with men accounting for only 6 percent, according to Community Advocates for Young Learners Institute (CAYL), based in Massachusetts. Stereotypes, low pay and lack of support are the reasons so few men go into teaching, says a report released last week by CAYL.
“Men in education at this level — arguably the most formative years of a child’s life — are an endangered species,” says Dr. Valora Washington, president of CAYL. “After parents, teachers are our earliest role models. Children need both male and female examples of how to behave and interact in a healthy, positive manner in today’s society.”
The CAYL report applauds initiatives in some states to recruit more men into the teaching field. In South Carolina, Clemson University’s Call Me Mister program offers tuition assistance and academic support to Black males pursuing education degrees. In Missouri, the University of Missouri-Columbia’s Mizzou Men for Excellence in Elementary Education program provides support, mentoring and financial assistance to men working towards teaching certification.
CAYL has made key recommendations for Massachusetts, but since the male teacher shortage is a national problem, other states can likely benefit from implementing these recommendations to increase male teachers in early education:
- Invite males into the early education work force to combat stereotypes
- Develop recruitment database to share best practices with administrators
- Address low salaries for early childhood educators and allocate 10 percent of scholarship funds for male applicants
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